We live in a world today where image affects everything. It’s just a sad fact. It’s what keeps former great David Beckham from slipping out of the public consciousness altogether. Stick him in a pair of underpants and sketch on a few ‘meaningful’ tattoos and suddenly the man needn’t kick a ball around for the rest of his life. In music, image is essential too with social media turning unknowns into viral superstars where standing out from the rest is key.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising artists who carefully craft their image and use it to supplement their musical output. No, what gets on my tits is when people are blinded by the shiny packaging and don’t realise what they’re actually looking at.
And that brings me to the latest piece of marketing that’s got everyone talking – Lana Del Rey. The American singer songwriter-turned-internet phenomenon has finally released her first major label record Born to Die after months of hype and PR. For me, it just goes to prove what I thought all along- she’s got as much chance of lasting the test of time as a pasty in John Prescott’s fridge. As I’m sure most are aware, Lana’s (or Lizzie’s if you want) first record went pretty much un-noticed. However, with an image makeover, a stupid pout, masses of PR, and a list of influences that seem to consist of various cultural icons that can relate to all age ranges thrown together, she was ready to take over. And the sad thing is, it’s worked. Tragic, love-sick songs with delicately arranged strings are being hailed as the second coming. Nancy Sinatra, one of Lana’s many so-called inspirations, would have told her to stop being so limp and “urgh my boyfriend plays video games. Woe is me.”, and get on with it. What we’ve got is another case of style over substance. I’m afraid it is easy to criticise but it is deserved.
Her live TV performances make things even worse, exposing us to goofy, off pitch vocals, particularly evident on her controversial Saturday Night Live performance. Of course, best of luck to her, she’s making a living. But people of Britain, of the world, wake up! Please! The album isn’t anything special but if there was an award for the best looking music, she’d have my vote all day long.